New Delhi: South African technology, media and telecom giant Naspers said India continues to be one of its largest markets, on the back of a string of transactions it undertook in the country in financial year 2019.

Terming FY19 as “transformational”, the company said almost all its revenue came from online activities, with the group now positioning itself as a global consumer internet conglomerate, even as it said it would delay the much-anticipated listing of its international internet assets.

In India, the 104-year-old company said it had invested $716 million in online food delivery platform Swiggy, in which it now holds a 39% stake, and had put in $383 million in ed-tech company Byju’s in the financial year ended March 31. Naspers, Africa’s biggest company, invested $3.1 billion overall across sectors, including, classifieds, food delivery and fintech, its core segments, among others during this 12-month period.

Additionally, the Johannesburg stock exchange-listed company’s fin-tech unit, PayU, also became profitable in aggregate and achieved profitability in each of its core markets, including India, Asia’s third-largest economy. According to the company, the volumes processed in the payments business reached $30 billion, representing a growth of 29% in local currency, on the back of over 920 million transactions. Among PayU’s major markets, India was the fastest growing and accounted for almost half of the volumes processed.

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The Indian credit portfolio minority investments, which include ZestMoney and PaySense, touched a combined monthly loan issuances of $15 million as of March 31. Separately, in April, the company undertook a share swap with Chinese travel major Ctrip, a deal that saw Naspers shed its 42.5% stake in MakeMyTrip, India’s largest online travel operator, in exchange for a 5.6% stake in the Shanghai-headquartered company.

It scored its biggest exit from India last year, following the acquisition of Flipkart, the country’s largest online retailer, by US-based retail behemoth Walmart, a transaction that saw Naspers gain $1.6 billion from the sale of a 12% stake in the Bengaluru-based company, which translated to internal rate of return of about 29%.

Delays listing

Naspers — which has a market capitalisation of about $105 billion — also said it had postponed a planned stock market listing of its global consumer internet assets on the Amsterdam Euronext exchange, following an administrative error by an external service provider.

The new company, which has been named Prosus (a Latin word for forward) will be the vehicle for its international internet assets, including Chinese technology leader Tencent, in which it holds a stake worth an estimated $134 billion.

The listing was being done primarily to reduce a significant discount in Naspers’ share price that is being driven by the size of its investment in the Chinese internet company, an investment it scored in 2001.





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